BNET (Business Net) travel blogger Brett Snyder predicts Virgin America's new presence at John Wayne Airport, coupled with Southwest Airlines' expansion of flights to and from San Francisco, will result in lower air fares between SFO and SNA, whose bustling terminal is shown here.
That's crazy talk for anyone used to ponying up the big bucks to fly into Frisco (or, if you're like me, taking advantage of lower fares to Oakland or San Jose). Indeed, Snyder concedes United and American have "made a killing" serving the route. But he believes it is all about to change.
It's all in the seats.
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On April 30, Virgin America will ramp up to eventually having five A319s a day carrying a total of 610 seats. On May 9, Southwest comes in and, if we assume they'll be flying their 137 seat aircraft, then they'll add another 685 seats per day.
That's right. The market will go from 962 seats per day all the way up to 2,257 seats per day. That's a 135 percent increase in the number of seats per day in that market. What do you think is going to happen here? Well, fares have to dive to fill all those seats.
Virgin and Southwest have already launch sales for springtime travel (if you book now). With United still holding a slight edge on the number of SNA-SFO flights, the added competition to fill all those seats will have the carriers "actively chasing dollars," predicts Snyder, who adds, "it wouldn't surprise me to see American end up the odd airline out in this race."
We can weep in our sourdough chowder bowls for them.